Recent rains have soaked Lakeside High School's baseball fields and rendered them all but unplayable the first week of practice, but the Panthers have busied themselves off the field. Among the activities were two seniors signing Friday to play college baseball next year.
Andy Pringle will play at Reinhardt College, and Will Hogan is headed to Andrew College.
Hogan said he chose the Cuthbert, Ga., school for the opportunities it offered. He threw for coaches Jan. 26 and signed the next week.
He said he hopes the junior college will propel him to a bigger school or professional franchise. Hogan will also have the opportunity to play against Lakeside teammate Zach Hayden and former teammate Ryan Hutchins, both of whom will be playing junior college ball next season.
"Andrew has a really good program," Hogan said. "It's a good opportunity for me to develop and move on up."
Hogan will play a part in the Panthers' rotation as a senior. The season starts Feb. 22.
Lakeside coach T.J. Davis said Hogan's bat will be needed in the bottom half of the lineup.
"He's definitely going to contribute and have to contribute for us to get as far as we need to get," he said.
Pringle found out he will contribute immediately at Reinhardt. The outfielder tried out on the Waleska, Ga., campus and was told by coaches he will have a starting spot in left as a freshman.
Davis said Pringle has the arm to play anywhere in the outfield -- he'll play left and center for the Panthers -- and that Reinhardt coaches probably liked Pringle's left-handed bat.
"He's one that can play anywhere," Davis said. "Ball goes to the wall, to the fence, he's got a good arm to get it back in. Runners have to be careful how far they get off the base, because he can throw in behind them."
Pringle said Eagles coaches told him his arm was better than any of their current outfielders. He said they liked his consistency at the plate and would work on his power.
"They liked what they saw," Pringle said.
The number of Panthers seniors who will play in college grew to five with the signings. Three other Lakeside players signed during December.
Davis said seniors Ben Black and Spencer Starnes should find a place to play next year before the season is through.
In the meantime, the Panthers will try to improve on last season's run to the Class AAAA quarterfinals.
"I think we'll go pretty far," Pringle said. "Our team gets along good. We're looking forward to a good season."
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